West Louisville Factory Adds Jobs With Federal Funds

by Devin Katayama on October 17, 2011

A West Louisville company is doing something unusual in the current economy: expanding production and bringing work back to America from another country.

Demetrics McCown was looking for a job for a year-and-a-half before landing his position with Mesa Foods.

“I came here and put in an application, two weeks later I came in, I got hired and now I’m here. I was packaging at first, but after the first 45 days of probation I completed, now I’m operation of tech and I’m training now and I’m still trying to go farther and farther, and far as I can go,” said McCown.

Mesa Foods Inc. announced 80 new jobs at its production plant near Chickasaw Park on Monday. The company produces corn and flour products, like tortillas. The on-the-job training for the new employees will be paid in half by Kentuckiana Works, about $120,000, which helps administer government dollars for workforce development.

“It’s a great example of private industry leads the way but getting some support from government when it’s there to make the numbers work and provide employment so everybody wins on a day like this,” said Mayor Greg Fischer (pictured).

Mesa Foods is a model for how her district can attract jobs, said newly appointed District 1 Councilwoman Attica Woodson Scott.

“We need to look at the model of Mesa foods, we need them to look at other local models and say that when companies like this are willing to invest, they should be willing to invest as well because they trust and value the folks who live here and the folks who were elected to represent and build relationships with them,” Scott said.

Mesa Foods invested $2 million to expand production. The jobs were previously based in Mexico, said Mesa Foods President Ted Longacre. Most employees hired live within 8 miles of the factory near Chickasaw Park in District 1, he said. And nearly half of the new employees came from west and southwest regions of Louisville, Longacre said.

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